Sept. 26, 2004 = Durango, CO to right past Gallup, NM
We’re sitting at a rest area just over the New Mexico border into Arizona. We just ate some soup that Big Daddy made (delicious despite the onions), and now folks are outside in the crisp night air, drinking beers, smoking cigarettes, and settling their various squabbles in the dark at the picnic tables on the perimeter of the grounds.
Cylclecide’s always got a dozen or so big personalities on tour, and sometimes when we haven’t had proper down-time away from the bus — group bike rides, tourist days, window-shop strolls, and visits from old friends — we can get a little prickly. Some of us more than others, and on other days, the others more than the some.
Not that we know a great deal about patience, but today, other than being a little peevish about onions being in our food every time we don’t cook (They hurt our contacts! They give us a headache! Etc.) we’ve been removed from the day’s mini-dramas, observing and pondering the ins and outs of bus-munal living.
We made up some simple bullet-points of advice to give any newer Cyclecide tour member who’s growing tired of Bus Life, experiencing a conflict with someone, having feelings of being underappreciated, or just generally clenching up into a cranky, whiny little bitch:
1. When you come on tour, say goodbye to your ego.
2. Try as best as you can to be self-sufficient — and sensitive to the consensus — at all times. If you see something not being done, start doing it and others will guilt themselves into helping you. Lead by example.
3. State your objective, your mood, or your beef to whoever needs to know or hear it in the most humorous and self-deprecating way possible. Stand your ground and confront the person you need to confront directly and in private.
4. The object of the game is never to get pissed off or riled up, no matter what. If you take something personally, you lose.
5. If a situation arises that you know is well within your area of expertise, and nobody’s listening to you anyway, stop talking, hang back, and either
A.) wait for them to realize they should ask your advice or
B.) smirk, put your headphones on, and trust in the power of “I Told You So.”
6. If all else fails, put the offending party in a headlock at the truck stop, or better yet, challenge them to a tallbike joust for the next show. Things that serious are best settled by making each other bleed.
There’s no big juicy gossip on the (cramped, always-moving-this-week) Cyclecide bus today, nor if there was would we tell it in specifics. But let’s just say that all Bike Rodeo and no play makes Jack a dull clown.
Tonight’s been the tension zit that popped, though, and we feel sure tomorrow when we go do a Tourist Thing and see the Painted Desert and the Petrified Forest on our way to the Phoenix gig, we’ll all be singing and clapping our hands and rocking the bus like the Partridge Family and those guys.
While we ate dinner a few minutes ago in the rest area parking lot, one trucker dude stood at the front of our fishbowl looking in, feet planted into the asphalt and arms folded on his chest. His gaze was icy, like he wanted to make eye contact and/or kill someone in our bus.
We wondered for a minute if he was the tweaky semi driver from who, earlier today, gave us the aggro-honk as he flew by us on the desolate, butte-dotted highway. Jarico honked back, and our horn was louder.
Tweaky Honker, earlier, had started screaming on the CB radio all kinds of blue-clouded epithets about the “sissy hippie bus” that should get off the road if it can’t go 55. So we took turns taunting him on the radio — which we’re sure he assumed we didn’t have — then sang him a rousing group rendition of “I Can’t Drive 55.”
Maybe this angered him so much that after pretending to blow past us and out of our lives, he’d spent the whole day stalking us, and now he was amped enough to enact his own crazed-trucker-and-a-group-of-traveling-young-people horror movie scenario.
Whew. He just drove away. Not him — or was it?
Anyhoo, today’s been another day of driving driving driving. We made us a big Southern breakfast after checkout, and then Jarico decided we should get down the road to leave plenty of time to drop Metal Mike off at the Phoenix Airport by Tuesday. He’ll re-join tour in Minneapolis.
Meanwhile, Los Banos (the Bike Rodeo band) can live without a lead guitarist for a couple of dates, but who’s going to obsessively play quiet, soothing metal and blues riffs on a classic Gibson SG while we roll down the highway?
Nobody let Linda near the Scrabble board today. The boys, it appeared, had a different method of cheating that they preferred to hers. She pretended to read the New York Times but we think she was eavesdropping most of the time.
Once out of the mountains and into Northwestern New Mexico, we gleefully took Highway 666 (now lamely re-named by superstitious Jesus freaks as “Route 421”) and gawked at the surreal Navajo Country landscape. We don’t believe we’ve ever seen a butte before. Mesas, maybe, but never a butte.
Also, we didn’t know that Navajos had personal sweat lodges on their properties the way others have swimming pools or two-car garages. Wish we all could go in one, as a matter of fact. Lord knows what kind of visions we clowns would hallucinate on if we sweated out all our toxins.
Also, since there’s almost nothing here, everything turns purple and pink at sunset.
We performed in Durango for the Tour de Fat on Saturday. Durango people love their Fat Tire beer, and to a far lesser extent, Cyclecide. The kids foamed at the mouth all day long for our rides, and at least they were blown away by the show. The adults, maybe not so much. Linda thinks she heard a few “boos” at the end of our performance. Our ears didn’t pick up anything but the scattered applause of an audience who’s collectively turning to run toward the beer tent for another round before everyone else gets there.
We tried out a new skit — Bike Sabbath — in which Che finally got to showcase his badass, unrideable-for-small-people, black-and-chrome death-chopper. Che got into a post-show altercation with a lady who felt very, very strongly that he’d squirted too much ketchup in her general direction.
Fat Tire management had to eventually intervene on our behalf, and they gave her the same basic argument that we did: You sat in the front row at a Cyclecide Bike Rodeo show. Thank you for coming, now go home and wash your pants.
Jeremy parked the bus by the gurgling Animas River last night after we striked the rides and cleared out of the park. We woke up to the sound of the Durango-Silverton train chugging past on the riverbank beside us. The beautiful, black mining-train-cum-tourist-trap hooted its horn, which startled some other people awake who weren’t quite as happy as we were to have the sound of a real live steam train be the day’s alarm clock.
One of the Cyclecide boys, who farts loudly and often as a matter of course on this tour, almost lost the Poop Or Fart game last night as the rest of the bus slept. We won’t go into details, but we think it might be karma.
All in all, the Durango show was successful, if not exciting. New Belgium styled the Rodeo with one hotel room afterwards, and a few of us sat in the hot tub until it got cold, then joined the rest of the bone-tired crew to watch a weird reality TV show where some B-list and has-been celebrities try to live together in a mansion for a month.
Judging from what little we’ve seen of the show (i.e. one episode), the few ex-celebs who have managed to keep good heads on their shoulders (or is it out of their asses?) during their respective rollercoaster-rides down the red carpet are simply no match for the Difficult People on the show — pampered, ego-poisoned and/or painfully ill-socialized window-lickers the program’s producers have thrown into the mix like a squirt of lime juice in a glass of cream.
We bet none of those assholes would last a day on tour with Cyclecide.
a personal postscript
We finally got the WINNER medal back in Albequerque. Fox awarded it to us in the Atomic Cafe after we’d tried to get tacos for dinner, and the place was closed so we went to the Atomic and watched bands and drank instead. All we did to get the WINNER medal was to say that we might not be able to walk in a straight line on the way home.
We don’t think we deserved to be WINNER at all. We think Fox just wanted to get it off her own neck and saw an opportunity. But it matches our outfit, so we’re keeping it until someone else deserves it.
Moses had the other WINNER medal for a few nights in a row before that – both because he combined beer with Vicodin for his shoulder injury, to hilarious and sometimes offensive effect, and because the man can do an excellent crack-pigeon impersonation.
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